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Oral Health Buzz

Prevent Tooth Decay with Halloween Candy Alternatives

Tania K. Cowling

Halloween is a night for trick-or-treat, goblins, superheroes, princesses and lots of fun. However, it is also a time for the almighty sugar rush and tooth decay. Halloween just wouldn't be the same without any candy, so let your child indulge in a piece or two, saving the rest to be rationed throughout the week. Most important is to emphasize good dental hygiene along the way — arguably the best brushing they have done all week.

As a conscientious parent, why not pass out candy alternates to the kids to at least cut down on the candy they receive? Here are some ideas to keep the fun in Halloween and also keep those pearly white teeth happy.

Smart Trick-or-Treat Giveaways

Gone are the days when parents would normally bake and prepare food snacks that are a little more health conscious. In place of homemade goods, provide prepackaged treats that are sanitary, safe and easy to pass along to the kids. Also, consider some non-food giveaways. Here is a list to keep handy when you are doing your holiday shopping.

Edible treats:

  • Small boxes of raisins, cranberries and other dried fruits in their own packaging.
  • Individual packages of trail mix.
  • Small packages of potato chips and pretzels.
  • Little boxes of animal crackers.
  • 100-calorie packages of cookies, chips and crackers (baked and low-fat).
  • Juice boxes, 100 percent juice.
  • Sugarless chewing gum.
  • Low-sugar fruit leather.
  • Packaged cheese and crackers or peanut butter crackers.
  • Fruit cups in their own juice or applesauce.
  • Packets of sugar-free cocoa mix.
  • Individual packages of pumpkin seeds.

Non-food giveaways:

  • Stickers (Halloween-themed or general, scented or not).
  • Crayons.
  • Small coloring books.
  • Halloween pencils, unsharpened.
  • Plastic finger rings, glow-in-the-dark bracelets or other jewelry.
  • Novelty party toys.
  • Temporary tattoos.
  • Small rubber balls.
  • Bottle of bubbles and blower.
  • Plastic animals and toy soldiers.
  • Small musical kazoo.
  • Money.

When you return home from trick-or-treating, make sure to go through your child's Halloween bag to search for unwrapped edibles, items that may not be safe and toys that are not age-appropriate. Also, if your child has an allergy, check the labels of each item. Explain to your child that healthy choices in food treats are better for overall health and prevent tooth decay, and toys last longer and give children hours of fun. Be unique on your block this year by passing out smart treats — you and the children's parents will be happy you did!

Learn more about preventing tooth decay in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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